The river can be quite the adventure if you want to tackle the whole thing, but otherwise you’ll find a mostly sweet and easy paddle here, though one section get up to small Class II rapids at certain points.
Named after the buffalo fish that swarmed the waters when settlers first arrived, the Buffalo River is the largest tributary of the Duck River and is particularly popular when it comes to canoeing, especially the central section of the river near Lobelville, Tennessee. A top notch spot to put in for a pretty and easy four-mile paddle is just off Highway 13.
What Makes It Great
The accessibility and variety of paddling experiences on the 125-mile unimpounded Buffalo River is the thing that makes it great. There are sections of the river near Hohenwald, TN that will give those looking for a slight challenge a run for their money while the central section of the Buffalo is lovely for a nice and easy paddle that even has services available at Cuba Landing Road to help with the take out process (for a fee). The four-mile float here is easy to access, just off Highway 13.
Besides the variety of the experience you’re looking to have on the river, you can also switch up the length of your journey. Considering that the river stretches on for a whopping 125 miles and has plenty of spots where you can hop in and out, your excursion is what you make of it.
If you want to stay at a hotel in a Tennessee town and just paddle for the day, you can absolutely do that. If you’re looking to get a little closer to nature, camping the entire way is possible, too—it’s up to you! Buffalo River Resort is a great option if you don’t want to hassle with logistics yourself. It’s family-friendly and caters to campers, canoeists, and kayakers alike.
Who is Going to Love It
Novice canoeists who are looking to try their hand at the sport will be happily content on the Buffalo River. It’s easy to get to, peaceful, and beautiful. There’s camping along the shores, and some sections have small rapids that are great practice for beginner kayakers.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Lobelville, TN is the place to take off from if you want to do the four mile float—just head up Old State Highway 13/Tennessee Gas Drive.